Project Unbroken & Addiction – Helping the Addict to Overcome
Addiction affects the mind and body of
Perhaps you have a loved one who is struggling with an addiction and you may be wondering how you can help. Your loved one will need your support to overcome that addiction.
Here are some reasons why you may have difficulty helping persons suffering from an addiction?
- They may be in denial
- They feel embarrassed and see no reason for discussing the problem with you
- They feel uncomfortable and do not want to discuss their personal issue with a .
- The addiction may be their way of skirting another issue they are having.
There are no quick fix answers in helping an individual with an addiction. You cannot persuade the addict to change if they are not willing to. The addict must be determined and consistent to overcome the addiction.
How to help your loved make the long term changes to quit the habit and help you to cope with the situation as well.
Step 1: Create Trust
It is not easy to build trust that been destroyed previously. Most importantly, initiate this first step between you and your loved one before you think about change. Understand that trust can be undermined during your attempts to help.
Avoid the following:
- Nagging, lecturing and criticizing the addicted person.
- Shouting, exaggerating and name calling
- Getting involved even in minimal addictive behavior yourself, they will see this as hypocritical behavior on your part
Be aware that:
- The addicted persons may feel that your attempts to help may be your way of trying to control them. This results in deeper involvement in the addictive behavior.
- The addictive behavior may be a coping mechanism for other stressful situations in their lives. If the environment you share is stressful, most likely the addictive behavior will progress.
- Trust is critical and works well both ways. While trust doesn’t mean accepting bad behavior, it has to be established before.
- People suffering from addictions hardly ever change. Change only occurs if there consequences to the behavior. Share with them the negative consequences of their actions.
Step 2: Initiate Help for Yourself
It is stressful when your loved one is an addict. Accept the situation is stressful for you and seek help so you can cope. This is if you want to help your loved one.
Step 3: Communicate
Don’t tell the addict that they need to change because the addiction is a problem for you. Remember, the decision to change must come from the person who has the addiction. Ensure that you communicate honestly and in a non- threatening way. Effective communication makes your loved one more open to deciding to change.
Step 4: Treatment
The process for treatment will vary depending on the type of treatment available. Here are a few things to consider if you are a part of your loved one’s treatment:
- Trust is critical; keep working to establish trust. Re-visit Step 1 before taking your loved one to counseling sessions.
- Honesty is important; be honest about your feelings, your expectation, and how the addiction is affecting you.
- Blaming, criticizing or humiliating your loved one during counseling will not help. Just say how this is affecting you.
- Don’t get upset and angry if your loved one blames you for their addiction. Just listen patiently with an open mind.
- Change has to be both ways. If you want to help the addict, you have to be willing to change too. If your loved one can see the willingness in you, most likely they will work with the treatment process. Check this
What should you do if your loved ones seek treatment alone?
- Respect their privacy. Never inform other family members and friends, about the addict’s treatment their process.
- Allow the addict to volunteer information about what happened in therapy. Don’t pry. Respect their privacy.
The approaches to helping addicts overcome their addiction vary. Bear in mind that you will encounter challenges and that change will take time. Be patient and encouraging during the process.
Featured Photo courtesy of Tookapic.